Therapeutic silence is an important part of effective communication.
When patients suddenly become quiet, they may be experiencing such strong emotions that they are unable to talk. Physicians should stop, remain quiet for a moment, then inquire about what the patient is thinking and feeling.
Until emotional needs are assessed and attended to, patients will be unable to hear further information.
Therapeutic silence allows patients and family members to:
- think about what has been said
- assimilate information
- identify and experience feelings
- integrate their intellectual knowledge and emotional needs
- formulate and ask questions
Storey P and Knight CF. Unipac five: communication and the physician´s role in the interdisciplinary team. Reston, Virginia. American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. 1998. p. 47.